Change and Stagnation

From: Peggy Wilkins <>, 21 May 2003
Subject: Honor Thy Playmate

When I started collecting back issues of PLAYBOY and saw the early issues for the first time, one of the things I enjoyed most was watching the magazine grow and evolve at a rapid rate. This was very obvious, I think even the casual reader at the time must have noticed this evolution and must have been impressed by it. Many even directly commented on it in letters to Dear Playboy at the time. Improvements happened quickly, sometimes on a month-by-month basis, and the magazine got bigger in both size (number of pages) and circulation as this happened. It was probably inevitable that as the decades passed this evolution slowed until eventually the magazine seemed to go on auto pilot, and most changes were much more superficial in nature. PLAYBOY got overly comfortable in its niche, and all the while the environment continued changing around it. I find it particularly exciting now to watch all the changes going on in the magazine again—it has been a long time since this has happened. The impetus to change offers wonderful opportunity for growth; it really is exciting to watch. It's even more exciting to take part in it, even if in a small way.

From: Alfred Urrutia <>, 11 Nov 2002
Subject: Points & future

Does the definition of PLAYBOY require that it constantly change or in some other way avoid playing it safe? Is being consistent "playing it safe"? Is changing layout for change's sake acceptable? By that I mean, if it sucked would you say "at least they're not playing it safe", meaning you desire movement more than something that works, however old or unchanged the current layout is? Of course, if the current layout doesn't work then the question is moot, it needs to be fixed.

One thing I run into all the time with my friends, having nothing to do with PLAYBOY, is this impatience with "playing it safe". In music, they'd rather listen to the newest stuff, the ever changing stuff, than the stuff that sounds best. Whether that best sounding stuff is new or old. I take shit for listening to Zeppelin, old Van Halen, Deep Purple, etc. Dinosaur music. I'm too set in my ways. Well, I say to them, show me some new rock that's as good. Sure, there is some, but it's almost like they're more concerned with the release date of the music than whether it's good or not. I ask them why they don't listen to 10 year old music, music that they swore was "the best". If it was that good, why not listen to it now? No decent answer.

So, this question about layout and content *may* be a version of the same deal, desiring changes just because you're used to what's been.

Peggy Wilkins
Last modified: Sat Mar 27 18:40:49 CST 2004